93% of people challenge anyone who doesn’t ‘look sick’ for using disabled toilet

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93% of people challenge anyone who doesn't 'look sick' for using disabled toilet



(Picture: Getty)Just because someone doesn’t ‘look’ disabled, it doesn’t mean they aren’t facing debilitating symptoms.
Our series, You Don’t Look Sick, shows how living with an invisible illness means facing misconceptions and misunderstandings when using disabled parking spaces or priority seats.
But one issue is when people with invisible conditions use disabled bathrooms.
Some people use them because they need to go urgently aren’t able to queue. Others need more space to empty an ileostomy bag, for example.
New figures though show that 93% of people would challenge someone who looks healthy with they see them using an accessible toilet because they think they are ‘standing up’ for the rights of disabled people.
The study carried out by Crohn’s & Colitis UK reveals that people with invisible disabilities have also faced verbal and/or physical abuse for using accessible bathrooms.
From the 1,771 people with Crohn’s or Colitis surveyed, 61% said they faced abuse and around two thirds said they had been refused when they asked to jump the toilet queue.
Symptoms of Crohn’s and Colitis include chronic diarrhoea so sometimes, getting to the toilet quickly is very important.

(Picture: Crohn’s and Colitis)The data revealed that these emotional and physical experiences are greatly impacting patients. 70% of people with Crohn’s or Colitis have had an accident in public or experienced unpleasant symptoms because someone wouldn’t let them jump the toilet queue, which can have a devastating social impact
81% of people with Crohn’s or Colitis think that the public have little understanding of these conditions and are quick to judge those living with them.
Now Crohn’s & Colitis UK has launched the Not Every Disability Is Visible campaign to try to change signage and attitudes around people using disabled toilets.
Over 80% of people with Crohn’s or Colitis said they feel more comfortable visiting places with the Not Every Disability is Visible signs installed, powerfully demonstrating that these signs have a real impact on people’s lives. For businesses this is a small change, for people with invisible disabilities this can be life-changing.
More: Health

Marta Azmy Yousef, a new mother, fashion textiles sales administrator, and a Not Every Disability is Visible campaign ambassador says: ‘I’m always worried about being challenged by someone when I come out of an accessible toilet – I feel as though I have to plan what I would say before leaving just in case someone decides I don’t look disabled enough.
‘I can get really anxious, worrying about someone having a go at me for being in the toilets that are ‘supposed to be for disabled people.’ It’s ridiculous. I know I’m allowed to use them, but people can be so cruel.’
‘These signs make a real difference to people living with Crohn’s or Colitis,” says Sarah Sleet, CEO at Crohn’s & Colitis UK. ‘We know that if the public better understand the devastating symptoms of these conditions, they will be more considerate and supportive of people who feel too ashamed or embarrassed to talk about their Crohn’s or Colitis.
‘It is vitally important that everyone gets involved in the campaign to help increase understanding of the true impact of these conditions.’
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